The New York Times: At a Silicon Valley dinner last year, President Obama reportedly asked Steve Jobs, “What would it take to make iPhones in the United States?” Jobs cryptically responded, “Those jobs aren’t coming back.”
Why can’t iPhones be made in the United States? The answer goes far beyond the cheap labor available in Asia. Asia has a large supply of well-trained workers–those with more than the equivalent of a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree–willing to do factory work. The factories offer the ability to start production on a new product within hours and to ramp up production incredibly quickly. In addition, all of the components that go into an iPhone are also manufactured in Asia, and it simply makes more sense to locate factories near to the supply chain.